By Brent James
Nestled inconspicuously on 12th Street in West Oakland in a neighborhood known as Prescott (or the “Lower Bottoms” to the longtime residents of the area) is a quaint little building that you will probably miss if you blink. A structure of brick and hardwood and matted red carpets that haven’t been touched since the 1960s, the building standing at 1658 12th Street is the Continental Club – a once a mighty Jazz and Blues supper joint that helped Oakland and the East Bay Area garner the reputation of being the “Motown of the West.” Along with Slim Jenkins’ Supper Club, Esther’s Orbit Room, and dozens of other nightclubs that sprawled along 7th Street, the stages in these rooms once hosted the likes of Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, and even Jimi Hendrix. The list goes on and the stories are endless if you’re lucky enough to get some face time with the “old timers” of the area. In this neighborhood, people still say “good morning” and spend many a Summer night on their porches, so that’s pretty easy to do.
By Brent James
Records Collecting Dust, a documentary film about the music and records that changed our lives, premieres in San Francisco at Balboa Theatre on January 29th! Written and directed by San Diego based musician and filmmaker Jason Blackmore, Records Collecting Dust documents the vinyl record collections, origins, and holy grails of alternative music icons Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles), Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag, SWA, Wurm, SST Records), Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Off!), John Reis (Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu), Lisa Fancher (Frontier Records), and over 30 other artists.
Book Passage and Amoeba Music welcome Peter Richardson to Book Passage Corte Madera to sign his new book No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead on January 28th at 7pm.
For almost three decades, the Grateful Dead was America's most popular touring band. While their albums sold well over time, the group never had a number one song, and they cracked the top ten only once—more than two decades after their formation. Why did they become one of the world’s most legendary bands?
Now, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the band’s creation, No Simple Highway is the first book to answer this deceptively simple question. Drawing on new research, interviews, and material from the Grateful Dead archives, No Simple Highway vividly recounts the Dead's colorful history, adding new insight into everything from the acid tests to the band's formation of their own record label to their massive late career success, while probing the riddle of the Dead's vast and durable appeal.
More info HERE!
Amoebapalooza is Amoeba Music's annual tradition of musical mayhem featuring bands comprised of Amoeba employees & friends. Join the employees of Amoeba Berkeley for the East Bay edition of Amoebapalooza on Thursday, January 15! The festivities will be held upstairs at Legionnaire Saloon in Oakland from 9pm to close.
Amoebapalooza is always free, always open to the public, and always awesome. Featuring Amoeba staff-helmed bands Decapitata, Chymical Nvptials, The 801, Bandulu, plus stand-up comedy from Keith Swiggart, and DJs too.
The 13th edition of the Film Noir Foundation's yearly film festival Noir City returns to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, January 16–25, 2015. This year's schedule is overflowing with 25 extraordinary titles depicting the darker side of marriage. See characters who crave a perfect and permanent union, those who'll stop at nothing to preserve it, and those who will do anything to escape it.
The program runs the gamut from revered cinema masterpieces such as Luchino Visconti's Ossessione and H. G. Clouzot's Les Diaboliques to daffy delights such as Doris Day's absurdly entertaining Julie and Douglas Sirk's sensational (and silly) Sleep, My Love. The shadows are shed briefly to present the most perfect marriage: William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in a holiday double bill of The Thin Man and After the Thin Man. Several subsets of films will be presented, honoring the work of creative talents such as Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, Barbara Stanwyck, Douglas Sirk, and 1950's husband and wife filmmakers Virginia and Andrew Stone.